Viktor Frankl And The Holocaust

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Viktor Frankl, renowned psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, often quoted Nietzsche saying, “He who has a ‘why’ to live for can bear almost any ‘how’”. Viktor Frankl, known for his development of logotherapy, a form of therapy that teaches individuals to live a life of meaning, put this saying to use when he experienced unspeakable atrocities during the holocaust. Given his medical and psychological history, Frankl was able to withstand Nazi concentration camps and not give into the hopelessness he faced; he instead focused on the meaning of life. It seems that Frankl arrived in the world at the right time; his purpose was fulfilled by his circumstance. Frankl made sure to recognize everyone’s individual essence, and it was with the onset…show more content…
After receiving the title doctor, Frankl went on to work with behavioral psychologists Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler, while staging his own theory: logotherapy—behavior is driven by the need to find meaning. But Frankl later “broke from his initial attraction to Freudian theory and began studying psychoanalysis under Alfred Adler. He came to disagree with Adler’s position that people do not have the freedom of choice and willpower to overcome their problems” (Range, 2000). Frankl writes that, “life is not primarily a quest for pleasure, as Freud believed, or a quest for power, as Alfred Adler believed, but a quest for meaning” (Frankl, “Meaning”). However, his practice and theory were not well received by medical professionals of the time. For quite some time, German hatred towards the Jews had been brewing. With the humiliation and shame of their defeat in World War I, their anger increased and they needed someone to blame for all of their problems. With Hitler’s rise to power, they had an outlet for their hatred. And so began the Holocaust. With his psychology background, Viktor Frankl was prepared, as one could be, for the unspeakable horrors that were to come by the hands of Hitler and the Nazis who began advancing and taking occupation of his city, religion, and culture. With the unimaginable terror and cruelty Jews experienced, it is a wonder how those persecuted and subjected to torture and
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